The Princethorpe community was saddened to learn of the death of Delphine Withall (née Kingston), OP in her ninety-first year.
Delphine (known affectionally as Del) was born in Coventry to parents who ran a hat & gown shop in Far Gosford Street. In 1939 at the outbreak of war, her parents decided that she would be safer away from the city centre and sent her to St Mary’s Priory at Princethorpe where she remained for the following seven years, making lifelong friends, several of whom attended her funeral. She went on to become a teacher and taught in three schools. She was a keen tennis coach, had a passion for bowls, antiques, crosswords and University Challenge. She lived in Stretton-on-Dunsmore.
Her grandchildren and her son all paid tribute to Delphine, remembering her immense love, keen sense of fun, encyclopaedic knowledge, wise counsel and unstinting support and encouragement. Her catchphrase was “I can and I will”.
Delphine Mary Withall - 5 September 1928 to 13 March 2019
A funeral service at All Saints’ Church, Stretton on Dunmore was held on Wednesday 3 April 2019 followed by a reception at the Oak and Black Dog. Delphine last attended a St Mary’s Priory re-union in September 2014.
Just a few weeks ago OP Richard Jenner died, aged 59, following a battle with cancer. Below is an extract from the eulogy given at his funeral which was attended by an enormous number of people (he was very popular) including four Old Princethorpians, five counting his younger brother Andrew...
'Richard’s childhood in Dar es Salem Tanzania was “so basic, uncomplicated and full of adventure”. Richard was a fast runner - good at maths, and a competent speaker of Swahili. At eight-years-old he went from a convent school in Dar Es Salam to St Michael's Sony in the Usambra Mountains.
At 11 Richard came to England, to Princethorpe College in Rugby where he was known as ‘JJ’. A school that he loved; where he made life-long friends; and where his passion for sport was nourished. And then to Sixth Form in Kenya, a country that forever after, he loved so dearly.
He moved back to the UK in his 20s and worked in IT, where he met his wife Teresa. Was there ever a more wonderful match? Each the perfect complement to each other. So supportive, so understanding, so loving. They were so lucky to have found each other.
Konor of course was born in 1992 and Ronny in 1995. Richard was an extraordinarily devoted, dedicated and proud father.
Later Richard left IT and started his own business, a really bold move. His work ethic was uncompromising and he had complete commitment to looking after his customers. One of his customers, Juice - said “Richard was never just a supplier but a true friend. It was always a good day when Richard came to care for us.”
Richard remained a keen runner and persuaded many of us to join him on half-marathons; marathons and the 100km Gurkha Trailwalker. His enthusiasm was infectious and he was a wonderful coach, motivator and running partner.
Richard immensely enjoyed family holidays in Scotland and Cornwall - he loved the coast and the sea. Vivid memory of eight of us putting to sea in a 38’ yacht off the South Coast in unexpectedly strong winds and high seas and sailing straight into the Cowes Week racing fleet: hours of weaving through the fleet and beating through wave and wind, helicopters and marshal boats swarming around; a lasting memory of Richard laughing at the wheel through the constant spray and finally making port exhilarated and exhausted, giggling and thankfully clutching a pint.
Many people of course have spoken of the unfairness of it all. How could someone as good as Richard leave us so early. The last time we spoke he said to me in his usual understated way that, “the Doctors are saying they’ve done all they can - which is very disappointing”. The courage and fortitude with which he faced the challenge was extraordinary but entirely in character.
Let me share a few of the messages I have received.
“A gentle kind and considerate spirit”
“A dear, kind, unassuming, lovely friend. Richard didn’t have a bad bone in his body”
“A lovely man, so friendly, so helpful, popular and genuine”
“Such a lovely gentle and happy man. Every time we passed him in his van he gave us a huge smile and ‘thumbs up’. We will miss this.”
“Richard was loved and respected by everyone that had the pleasure of knowing him or had him touch their lives.”
And I think this is it. Richard clearly had the greatest love and devotion for his family but what is extraordinary is that he had so much left for the rest of us. He made us all feel special because I think in his eyes, we all were.
For now, goodbye my dear friend. Or as I believe you would have said in Swahili: Safari Njema'
Richard's friend OP Steve Evans, also wrote some words about their time at Princethorpe...
'Richard Jenner: ‘JJ’ – can't tell you why save for the first letter of his last name; we all had nicknames in those days – was a full boarder in the class of ’77. We were and are a close year, every one of us still in touch and many of us meeting regularly. Five of us including JJ had lunch at the Nags Head, Abingdon just before Christmas.
Those of us at the Service learned a good deal about JJ that was new to us, but one theme was totally familiar to those of us who were at school with him: JJ was a natural ‘peace maker’: at home, at work and with his friends. Whe we heard that he was very ill, there were many exhanges between his old school friends about him, for instance on our ‘WhatsApp’ group. None of us could ever remember having an argument with JJ, witnessing him falling out with anyone, having enemies or being disliked, hearing a bad word from him, or about him or seeing him upset anyone.
He had a prodigious talent for reconciling people. He didn’t like conflict; he was a ‘uniter’, a ‘harmoniser’, and he brought people together with his natural good humour and sense of fun. He loved to laugh, to enjoy himself and others, to enjoy life. It was difficult to be unhappy when he was present, he had such an infectious good nature that it was impossible to be anything other than happy in his complany. That instinct to see harmony amoungst those he liked and loved – and that was pretty much everyone he met – is a virtue this world could happily stand more of.
Two things I can say on behalf all his friends from Princethorpe, firstly our sympathy, thoughts and love to Teresa, and his wonderful children Konor and Ronny (a credit to JJ and Teresa) – we are here for you, and secondly this: he was our mate, one of us, we will miss him hugely – rest in peace JJ.'
Richard is pictured far right in October 2018 with his OP friends, Robin Abeyesinhe, Mike Loughnane, Steve Evans and Mike Nagaur.
We were delighted to hear that OP Thomas Alexander, who left Princethorpe in 2002, is engaged to be married.
Tom met his fiancee Becky in Leamington Spa, he was on a night out for a friends 30th birthday and Becky was on a friend’s hen-do. Tom was in fancy dress as one-half of Wham, the other half was his old Princethorpe classmate Jon Fleming (the theme of the party was the letter ‘W’ … he told us it had seemed like a good idea at the time!)
Clearly, his costume stood out as it got Becky and him talking and it all started there.
Tom is now a company director of a video production company based in Warwickshire whilst Becky is a researcher at Oxford University. They live together in Warwick with their cat Margot.
Their wedding is taking place in the summer at Wethele Manor and they are both busy making plans for the big day.
We offer our congratulations to them both and wish them every future happiness together.
News of a Princethorpe fairytale has reached the Old Princethorpians! OPs Kate Whitfield and Matt Adkins got engaged on 20 April 2019 and Kate tells us more...
Matt and I are both Old Princethorpians - we met at Princethorpe and became a couple in 2010, which I believe was Year 9 for us. We met because of Princethorpe and have gone strong ever since.
Since leaving Princethorpe I went on to study and complete a BA Hons in Fine Art from De Montfort University where I got a first. I am now a Technical Administrator for an acoustics firm - Noise.co.uk, and I also take art commissions on the side.
Matt became a Maintenance Engineer and is currently working for UniPart. He has also completed a HNC in Engineering, an extended Level 3 Diploma in General Engineering and a Level 3 NVQ in Maintenance Engineering.
Matt proposed to me on top of the Worms Head in Rhosilli, Wales on the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
I also dug out this old photo from our Princethorpe days which I believe was taken in an old History classroom on the ground floor.
Huge congratulations to Kate and Matt!